With version 13.05, the developers of the Genode OS Framework take measures to ensure that Genode continues to scale well with a growing number of users and the steadily broadening platform coverage. Further highlights are the improved SoC support for Exynos 5, OMAP4, Raspberry Pi, i.MX, and new components for realizing headless systems.
Over the last couple of releases, the hardware features supported by Genode have become more and more advanced, covering many native device drivers for diverse ARM-based SoCs as well as x86 technologies like IOMMUs and hardware virtualization. In the face of these developments, it becomes clear that unit testing and runtime tests on Qemu don’t cut it anymore. As the community of users grows, it is important to continuously test and measure the framework’s fundamentals on real hardware. To automate this task, the current release introduces extensive tooling support. Also included is a suite of networking benchmarks that operates on different levels of the networking stack. Those tools not only empower the makers of Genode to implement largely automated tests and benchmarks across multiple hardware platforms, but can also greatly improve the work flows of users when dealing with real hardware instead of simulators.
With the focus on the implementation of quality-assurance measures, the development diverged quite a bit from the feature-oriented road map outlined earlier this year. But the developers are convinced that consolidating and optimizing the existing feature set will have more sustainable effects for the community than functional enhancements at this time. Nevertheless, there are still several appealing new features in the new release: improved SoC support for Exynos 5, OMAP4, Raspberry Pi, i.MX; enhanced terminal infrastructure; and device-driver updates.
For the Exynos-5 SoC, plenty of peripherals have been enabled. In particular, there are new device drivers for eMMC, SATA, USB-3, and gigabit networking. For the Freescale i.MX SoC, there are new drivers for display and touch screen. On OMAP4, the framebuffer driver has been enhanced to cover LCD displays in addition to HDMI. The latter enables Genode to run on devices like a B&N Nook HD+ as explained in blog posting. Furthermore, principal support for the Broadcom BC2835 SoC has been added, which is the SoC at the heart of the Raspberry Pi platform.
Apart from the extended pool of device drivers, there is a new facility for capturing log data to files stored on a file system, the addition of Linux/ARM as Genode base platform, and a new command-line based user interface for managing Genode subsystems. By combining this new user interface with the improved terminal infrastructure of the framework, it has become possible to create sophisticated dynamic Genode systems that operate in headless environments.
As usual, those and more topics are covered in the extensive release documentation.